RV bylaw proposal drives debate ahead

Armstrong considering a zoning bylaw that would remove the length restriction of a recreational vehicle in residential zones.

John and Sharla Zandvliet don’t have a problem with the size of motorhomes parked on Armstrong residential properties.

As long as the recreation vehicle properly fits the property line and doesn’t intrude on to neighbouring properties.

The Zandvliets spoke against a proposed text change to the City of Armstrong’s  zoning bylaw that would remove the length restriction of a recreational vehicle in residential zones.

“When you’re trespassing, causing damage and encroaching on another person’s property,  the only recourse we have is the existing bylaw short of civil litigation which is extremely expensive,” said John at a public hearing on the matter Monday following second reading of the proposed bylaw text change.

Added Sharla: “Not every property is going to fit every single size of vehicle that someone is going to want stuff on it. I think it’s shortsighted not to recognize that property size matters.”

The current bylaw limits recreational vehicles to a maximum length of 32.81 feet.

Many RVers in Armstrong have told council and staff that most motorhomes nowadays are 40-feet long or bigger.

Close to 20 people crammed into city hall for the 15-minute hearing.

Resident Terry Fletcher said he has both a motorhome and hedges on his property.

“My neighbours have hedges,” said Fletcher.

“As a motorhome owner, you have to take into consideration the neighbours if you park it on your property. If you park it there and cause damage to your neighbour’s stuff, is that being neigbhourly.”

“You have to look at the whole picture. Does it really fit if you’re doing damage to someone else’s property?”

Speaking in support of the proposed change was Ken Manchulenko, who said he once had property in the Fraser Valley where his neighbour’s trees encroached on to his property.

“I went to council and they said if the trees extend into your property, you’re allowed to cut the limbs off,” said Manchulenko.

“I had my motorhome scratched by the branches when the wind was blowing. I cut the branches off. We went to court, the neighbour lost, he cut down the trees down.”

Also in support was Kira Orme.

“I certainly respect the right of people that have big motorhomes to have them close and not have the cost of storing them,” she said.

Council unanimously passed third reading of the bylaw text change which also proposes to increase the maximum weight of a commercial vehicle in residential zones so that one truck or commercial vehicle does not exceed 7,000 kilograms gross vehicle weight (15,435 pounds GVW).

Mayor Chris Pieper said common sense must also play a part between parties.

“The bylaw to not restrict the length is to allow common sense to come in,” he said, adding that the city’s bylaw enforcement officer will ticket offending parties.

“It still has the criteria of safety, of not being on sidewalks and for vehicles to watch for pedestrians backing out.”